We touched on the creepiness of October a little when we talked about Sarah Winchester and her Mystery House and again when we talked about fog. There was a little bit in the Headless Horseman post, but not too much.
I hesitate to write the dark stuff, the creepy stuff, too early in October. October is not all about scaring each other. It’s not all monsters and ghosts, but we’re into the last week of the month, the week preceding Halloween.
Did the lights just dim in here? Was that just me?
I went to Kennedy School tonight for a bit. A little background for the out-of-towners: Kennedy is a hotel/pub/restaurant/bar/movie theater/brewery run by some folks I worked for a while back. I pulled a couple front desk shifts there back in the day and dragged many a tour through those halls to look at the cute pink tile on the floor of the brewery while we talked about how the school was not actually named for a president. I tell you this to say that I’ve been in and out of the building numerous times over the years and I’m pretty comfortable there.
Tonight was the first time it’s ever freaked me out.
During the time I worked for the McMenamins, the beer-brewing brothers behind Kennedy School, I spent a lot of time in buildings that are widely regarded as being haunted. Here’s my disclaimer: I’ve never personally seen anything supernatural happen in any of them. That said, I also refuse to deny anyone else’s experiences with whatever’s lurking in said buildings. Stuff happens. Ask to see the journal at the front desk at the Grand Lodge; it’ll give you goose bumps. There are hundreds of stories about stuff happening at Edgefield, perhaps as many at Hotel Oregon. Even some of the smaller pubs in the company (St. John’s, the White Eagle, Thompson) have ghost stories.
But Kennedy? Not one. It was an elementary school. It was farmland before that. There’s just nothing in the history – “real” documented history or the oral histories passed on to us by neighbors and former students and teachers – that would suggest any sort of…activity.
But if tonight had been the first time I’d ever set foot over the threshold there, I wouldn’t have believed it.
I came in through the doors by the Cypress Room and headed up the east/west hallway toward the front desk. By the time the door closed behind me, I felt like something was just off. I walked a little faster than I normally would. It was cold and too quiet and by the time I made it to the end of the hall, I was sorely tempted to walk right out the front doors and go home.
But I stayed and whatever that feeling was, it went away while I was in the theater. Perhaps whatever sense it was that picked up that weird vibe was dulled by a pint of Rubinater. Hard to tell.
So, this week we’ll tell ghost stories and monster stories and see if we can’t scare each other a bit. But please, I beg you, try not to scare me too much: I’ll be spending much of my Halloween evening in a graveyard. Because Halloween wasn’t quite creepy enough.